Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Johnny's California "Vacation", Part One

Kestrel's 8th birthday was in the middle of "Ski Week" at his school, when no one goes skiing since there is no snow but they also don't go to school (I'm not sure why.) Kestrel wanted Grandpa Johnny there for his birthday but also to give a cider making presentation at his school. But there was no school that week. So Johnny, always willing to take a train ride and hang out with any of his grandkids and their parents for however long, left on Tuesday, Feb. 10, arriving on Wednesday in El Cerrito, where Munazza's sister Faiza lives, to do some repairs on her condo. Naturally, the only photos he took there were of one of his projects, caulking around the foot of her bathtub, ... and food... the lunch she prepared for him (omelet and chocolate muffins and tangerine slices plus a green drink not pictured. Johnny said all of it was yummy.)

Most of the rest of the photos were taken by Munazza with her phone after Johnny arrived Wednesday afternoon in San Carlos. (Reminder: to see the photos full sized, click on a photo)

On Thursday, Johnny was scheduled to give his cider making talk at Cedrus' kindergarten class and Kestrel's second grade class. Naturally, he gave it the Grandpa Johnny way... funny. In each class he first suggested various (im)possible ways to make cider: by sticking a straw into an apple and sucking; smashing an apple with a hammer and trying to drink the juice...

at Kestrel's class
in Cedrus' class with Cedrus helping

Finally he admitted defeat and showed the kids how we make it here on the farm... through photos.

 After the presentation, everyone had a drink of cider from our farm that Kestrel and Cedrus had helped squeeze this fall. Cedrus's  teacher, Gina, posed for a photo with the cider men and the cider.

On Friday, Kestrel and Munazza had a field trip. Cedrus had a Valentine's party at school.

 In between trips to the school, Johnny worked on projects at the house: adding electrical outlets, creating new circuits for new light fixtures, and more. Kestrel helped when he was home.

 On the weekend, they rode bikes to a nearby school grounds, where Kestrel displayed his monkey bar agility.

 Crazy Steve, on inline skates as always, decided to hang from the monkey bars, too.

 Less dangerous excitement at home was the hatching and release of Painted Lady butterflies. They had hatched and released Monarch butterflies earlier. Cedrus figured out he could put his finger down by the new butterflies and they would crawl onto it. He then withdrew his hand and let them fly away when they were ready.

Also on the weekend, they went to a party celebrating friends' Tom and Yatin's twins... in the house with 5 flights of stairs for Cedrus to climb up and down. He loves stairs. Everyone loves babies.

Yatin with one of his babies

Steve with one of Yatin and Tom's babies

 On Monday, Feb. 16, President's Day, they went to the same beach they had taken me to. Johnny took a photo of this sign. A birding trail! Cool!

 They slid down the same bank we slid down and played on the beach in the same area. Johnny and Steve built stone towers.

They tried to fly the butterfly kite but there was not enough
wind this day.

                                                                                                                     And they climbed the climbing trees, of course.


 Johnny took this photo of Cedrus and Kestrel with their girlfriends, Megan and Lauren, on the hike.

 For the next two days, presumably Johnny did projects, not just played... like this raised bed being created from a sandbox that no one ever used.

 However, there was still plenty of goofing off going on. They spent part of a day setting off Mentos and Diet Coke geysers.

 Thursday, Feb. 19 and Kestrel's 8th birthday, finally arrived. That story and photos in my next blog post.

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